15 Best Things To Do In Puerto Vallarta, Mexico - Updated 2021

things to do in puerto vallarta mexico
Mario
Mario
Updated

If there is one city in the state of Jalisco in Mexico that is multi-hyphenate, nothing is more fitting than Puerto Vallarta. Cushioned between the Bahia de Banderas and expansive lush green rolling mountains, the beach resort city boasts one of the most alluring tourist destinations in Mexico. Some of its popular monikers include the “most romantic destination in Mexico”, “safest city in Mexico”, and “friendliest city in the world”. Puerto Vallarta, or simply called by locals, Vallarta proves it has it all. Everywhere you go, whatever you do—you will have beautiful memories to take with you. So jump right in and let’s go explore. Here are the best things to do in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.

1. Enjoy panoramic views of the skyline from the Mirador Cerro de La Cruz

Editor's Note: There's no photo available at the time of writing

This incredible open-work tower is a treat for civil engineers and architects to check out, but everyone can enjoy the unique views it provides of the skyline of Puerto Vallarta and the seascape. The hike up the stairs can be quite exhausting, even for fitness enthusiasts who have a good amount of stamina, but it is well worth it as you’ll get to see the entire city from the top. There is a Christian cross at the top of the building, and an observation deck above it. You will see plenty of people going up and down the stairs to exercise in the evenings.

Mirador Cerro de La Cruz

Address: Abasolo LB, Cerro, 48304 Puerto Vallarta, Jal., Mexico

Website: Mirador Cerro de La Cruz

Opening hours: 24 hours (daily)

2. Pray in peace at the Parish of Our Lady of Guadalupe

Church of Our Lady of Guadalupe, Puerto Vallarta
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Another Believer used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Known in Spanish as La Iglesia de Nuestra Senora de Guadalupe, this is a Catholic church that is truly beautiful to explore. Open throughout the day, every day, it is a nice place to visit and meditate in, or pray at, after a long day of exploring the city. The church service is available in English as well as Spanish, as per your preferences. Dedicated to the Virgin Mary, who is the patron saint of Mexico, this building is extremely important to the residents and has been well-maintained for almost a century since it was built.

Parish of Our Lady of Guadalupe

Address: Hidalgo 370, Proyecto escola, Centro, 48300 Puerto Vallarta, Jal., Mexico

Website: Parish of Our Lady of Guadalupe

Opening hours: 24 hours (daily)

3. Go on a shopping spree at the Cuale Island Flea Market

Isla Cuale
Source: Photo by Flickr user cezzie901 used under CC BY 2.0

Situated in one of the most well-maintained and beautiful parts of Puerto Vallarta, the flea market of Isla Cuale is in downtown Puerto Vallarta, and it is a lovely place to check out if you enjoy flea market shopping and shopping locally. You can find a wide range of amazing products, including handmade bracelets, apparel, jewelry, accessories, home décor, and small trinkets and figurines. Surrounding the flea market are the two rivers that have adorable wooden bridges that you can click pictures on, and you can explore the beautiful flora in the area. Once you are done shopping, head over to the municipal market area where you will find authentic Mexican food.

Cuale Island Flea Market

Address: Zona Romántica, Emiliano Zapata, 48380 Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco, Mexico

Opening hours: Sun - Fri: 9am - 9pm; Sat: 9am - 8pm

4. Binge on chocolate at ChocoMuseo Puerto Vallarta

Editor's Note: Photo taken from the establishment's official social account

Recuerda que puedes pedir nuestras delicias de chocolate en UBER EATS Remember that you can order our chocolate delicacies with UBER EATS

Posted by Choco Museo Puerto Vallarta on Friday, March 20, 2020

If you are traveling with family, this is a wonderful place to bring your children. This is a chocolate workshop and specialty shop where you can learn to make your own chocolate. In addition, this place will also introduce you to unique chocolate combinations such as chocolate tea. You will learn how chocolate is prepared from scratch, and how to prepare chocolate delicacies. You can taste the candies and chocolate combinations that you have made. If you want to be truly unique, you can even bring your own ingredients such as nuts, mint syrup, or other ingredients.

ChocoMuseo Puerto Vallarta

Address: Josefa Ortiz de Domínguez 128, Centro, 48300 Puerto Vallarta, Jal., Mexico

Website: ChocoMuseo Puerto Vallarta

Opening hours: 10:30am - 7pm (daily)

5. Explore the beautiful Área Natural Protegida Estero El Salado

Estero "El Salado"
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user DELVALLE used under CC BY-SA 4.0

If you are interested in exploring the great outdoors, this outdoor reserve is a great way to spend a day outside. This urban estuary features native flora and fauna in Mexico, including reptile and bird sanctuaries. You can opt for the boat tours that take you through the reserve and you will see the wildlife from up close as well. There are interesting activities within the reserve that you can engage in, such as releasing baby crocodiles and baby turtles into the mangroves so that they are protected from terrestrial and aviary predators. The staff is very informative and helpful, and you can ask them about the various species of animals you see.

Área Natural Protegida Estero El Salado

Address: Av. Francisco Medina Ascencio S/N, Villa Las Flores, 48335 Puerto Vallarta, Jal., Mexico

Website: Área Natural Protegida Estero El Salado

Opening hours: Mon: 9am - 12pm; Tue - Fri: 9am - 5pm; Sat: 9am - 3pm (closed on Sun)

6. Go sightseeing at Banderas Bay

Dolphin, Banderas Bay
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user terri_bateman used under CC0

Bandera Bay is so magical that it is said to be 3.2 kilometers (2 miles) in depth. Making it even more enchanted are a large number of gigantic creatures visiting near the shore that tourists can see. Some of them are enormous humpback whales, manta rays, marlin, sailfish, marlin, and so many others. Talk about free sightseeing.

Banderas Bay

Website: Banderas Bay

7. Visit Los Arcos Marine Park

Los Arcos
Source: Photo by user Waywuwei used under CC BY-ND 2.0

The Los Arcos Marine Park has been declared a protected area since 1984. Today, it has become one of the most popular tourist destinations in Mexico. Situated south of the Banderas Bay, it has grown to be one of the major stopovers of cruise ships because of its tiny granite islands magnificently swelling from the ocean’s surface. The area also has become a great site for scuba divers and snorkelers owing to its rich marine biodiversity.

Los Arcos Marine Park

Website: Los Arcos Marine Park

8. Go on a Puerto Vallarta outdoor adventure tour (from USD 119.0)

Had enough of the water? Don’t fret! Start the adrenaline pumping with the Puerto Vallarta Outdoor Adventure Tour. Indulge in sweat-breaking activities while immersing in Mother Nature’s best. Rappel down gushing waterfalls; conquer the zip line suspended over a river canopy; cross a hanging bridge in the midst of the forest; race on 4x4 jeeps; get fast and furious on a speedboat—there are enough things to do for every adventure seeker.

Puerto Vallarta Outdoor Adventure Zip Line and Speedboat Ride

Duration: 7 hours

10 reviews

9. Enjoy some kitesurfing and windsurfing in Bucerias

Bucerias, Mexico
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Michelle Maria used under CC BY 3.0

If kitesurfing and windsurfing are your thing but the crowd is not part of your vocabulary, there is an astounding reason why Bucerias exists. It is for you! Located just along the Banderas Bay, Bucerias boasts a long stretch of white sandy soft beach. Dubbed as the Wind Capital of the Riviera Nayarit, Bucerias is known for kitesurfing and windsurfing. Take a side trip and hit the street villages made of cobblestone.

Bucerias

Website: Bucerias

10. Attend a cooking class (from USD 90.0)

When in Puerto Vallarta, grab the opportunity to learn the basics of Mexican flavors. Condensed into a 5-hour cooking class, you will get a ton of new customary cooking techniques and recipes such as fish ceviche and tequila—that’s of course in a Mexican way. Along with this tour is a visit to a traditional tortilla factory. For marketing the ingredients, you get a glimpse of a vibrant market in Puerto Vallarta. Each day has different menus so make sure to check out their site for the list.

Puerto Vallarta Cooking Class with Market Tour and Tastings

Duration: 5 hours

10 reviews

11. Kiss a dolphin at Aquaventuras Park

Toboganes
Source: Photo by user Christian Frausto... used under CC BY-SA 2.0

It’s free! Yes! You read it right. Get a handshake and a kiss the dolphin, plus an enjoyable belly ride around the pool. Aquaventuras Park also offers a zip line circuit, rock climbing, and a challenge circuit, still for free. But if you want to do it again, 108 MXN (6 USD) will only be emptied from your pocket.

Aquaventuras Park

Address: Carretera a Tepic KM, Puerto Vallarta, Nayarit, Mexico

Opening Hours: Daily, 11 am – 5 pm

Duration: 1 hour

Contact: +1 8007275391

Website: Aquaventuras Park

12. Attend the Puerto Vallarta International Gourmet Festival

Strawberry Cake - Puerto Vallarta
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Hotel Casa Velas used under CC BY-SA 2.0

A yearly event every November, the Puerto Vallarta International Gourmet Festival showcases the best food and wine happening along the Banderas Bay area. Well-renowned national and internationals chefs grace the event. There you get to attend cooking classes, learn wine pairing, taste the best wines and tequila, and so much more.

Puerto Vallarta International Gourmet Festival

Contact:+52 3222037687

Website: Puerto Vallarta International Gourmet Festival

13. Visit the Puerto Vallarta Art Walk

Deer, Beaded Huichol Art, Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco, Mexico
Source: Photo by user Wonderlane used under CC BY 2.0

Puerto Vallarta is not just about beautiful white sand beaches and nature adventure, the city has a very rich art history, and the Puerto Vallarta Art Walk has a huge contribution in its promotion. If art galleries spur your interest, the art walk is a good place for you to visit. Paintings, fine ceramics, sculptures—made by both national and international artists—are there for you to enjoy.

Puerto Vallarta Art Walk

Address: #230 Calle Leona Vicario, Col. Centro, Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco, Mexico

Opening Hours: Daily, 6 pm – 10 pm

Duration: 1 hour

Contact: +52 3222225502

Website: Puerto Vallarta Art Walk

14. Catch live performances at the Puerto Vallarta St. Cecilia Music Festival

Editor's Note: There's no photo available at the time of writing

St. Cecilia Music Festival takes place every November 22 in celebration of St. Cecilia, the patron saint of musicians. Various national and international artists perform a series of different concerts at the festival. It is open to the public and the whole family.

Puerto Vallarta St. Cecilia Music Festival

Website: Puerto Vallarta St. Cecilia Music Festival

15. Go snorkeling on the Marietas Islands (from USD 89.0)

Take a full-day tour exploring the wonderful marine biodiversity of the Bahia de Banderas (Bay of Banderas) and the Mexican Pacific. Snorkeling and bird-watching are fun things to do, but kayaking in the clear waters is one of the tour highlights. Play with diverse species of charming dolphins, observe enormous whales and manta rays, and swim alongside green sea turtles.

Marietas Islands: Kayak, Snorkel Cruise from Puerto Vallarta

Duration: 7 hours

10 reviews

Go beyond the beaches

Muelle Puerto Vallarta
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Corderomx used under CC BY-SA 4.0

Puerto Vallarta undoubtedly is one of the most stunning beach destinations in Mexico. But with the variety of things to do and places to visit in the city, it is definitely not just about the beaches. There is more to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico than meets the eye.

Disclosure: Trip101 selects the listings in our articles independently. Some of the listings in this article contain affiliate links.

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